Friday, July 26, 2013

Profile: Alice Heine

Suggestion by a blog commenter.


  1. A few more small country Jews:

    San Marino (pop. 32,000) - Henri Salomon d'Avigdor was made duke here, while Angelo Donati and Boris Lifschitz both served as diplomats. Interesting enough for Jew or Not Jew? Probably not.

    Liechtenstein (pop. 36,000) - you've already covered Elsa von Gutmann and Roy Lichtenstein (related by name only), but there's also Curt Herzstark, the half-Jewsih inventor of the Curta mechanical calculator. Considered the best portable calculators until the 1970s, Herzstark developed it in Buchenwald. Being allowed to do so probably saved his life.

    Greenland (pop. 56,000) - half-Jewish Danish polar explorer Peter Freuchen spent much of his life here, as did the more famous Knud Johan Victor Rasmussen who may have had Jewish maternal heritage. Northernmost Jews?

    Channel Islands (pop. 160,000) - You've alreay covered Edward Brampton, governor of Guernsey, but there's also Claude Cahun, the androgynous French surrealist, who lived here and was sentenced to death during the Nazi occupation. (The sentence wasn't carried out but Cahun's health never recovered from her treatment and she died in 1954.)

  2. Wow, Freuchen's story is awesome. This will be done.

  3. Oops re Herzstark.

    A few more, this time from the Caribbean:

    Bermuda (pop. 64,000) - an attorney general and a solicitor general (surprise, surprise), but also Michael Douglas's (non-Jewish) mum.

    Dominica (pop. 72,000) - Charles Marsh Schomberg, part of Schomberg family of 18th century Jewish British Royal Navy officers (two captains and an admiral), was the lieutenant-governor of this island.

    Antigua & Barbuda (pop. 82,000) - award-winning writer Jamaica Kincaid is a convert.

    US Virgin Islands (pop. 106,000) - this has had a Jewish community since the 17th century, when it was still part of Denmark. You've already covered at least three: Judah Benjamin, Camille Pissarro and David Levy Yulee. Others include: mixed race businessman William Alexander Leidesdorff, who's too interesting for me to summarise here; 17th century governor Gabriel Milan, who ended up beheaded; and two 20th century governors, who didn't.

    Grenada (pop. 110,000) - British R&B singer Craig David is half Jewish half Grenadan. On a US tour he was encouraged to drop his white backing guitarist to maximize sales amongst African Americans. He refused.

    Dutch Antilles (pop. 175,000) - recently dissolved into its constituent parts, these Caribbean islands have also had a significant Jewish population since the 17th century, primarily in Curaçao. Famous Curaçao Jews include: the Senor family, who invented the Blue Curaçao liqueur; George Maduro, a Dutch WW2 officer who died in Dachau and had the miniatuare park Madurodam named after him; Daniel De Leon, a prominent American socialist; and Jacob Gelt Dekker (half Jewish), who founded a museum on the island about slavery. US poet Penina Moise was from the nearby island of Sint Eustatius (pop. 3,800).